Gilmore: ‘Reluctant’ no on B

Michele Ellson

City Councilwoman and mayoral candidate Marie Gilmore has said that while she supports redevelopment of Alameda Point, she is taking a “reluctant” stance against Measure B.

Gilmore has come under fire in recent weeks from groups who oppose Measure B because she had not taken a stance on SunCal’s Point development plan. She is the last member of the City Council to do so.

Here’s Gilmore’s statement:

As someone who strongly supports the community-developed vision for the redevelopment of the former naval base that is the basis of the land-use plan in Measure B, it has been a difficult and complicated decision for me on whether to endorse or oppose Measure B. I have reluctantly decided to oppose Measure B.

I say “reluctantly” because, like many Alamedans, I am eager to move forward on developing the former naval base. It is the only base from that particular round of closures that has failed to make any progress on the development front. Community members have provided input over the many years since the base closed and this input is the basis of the land-use plan in Measure B, which has the potential to create a vibrant, mixed-use community that would be an asset for Alameda.

However, I have been concerned from the time this measure was submitted about fiscal aspects of the initiative and the process for implementing this plan. Specifically, I have always been concerned about approving this initiative prior to negotiating a Disposition and Development Agreement. Because the City is in an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement with SunCal, I believed it was my duty to permit the negotiation process to proceed. While I had significant concerns about Measure B, I was optimistic that these concerns could be addressed through ongoing negotiations.

That negotiation process has proceeded substantially since the submission of the measure, and with the election less than two weeks away, I feel it is now appropriate to state my opposition to Measure B. My concerns regarding the fiscal terms and process have not been adequately resolved through the negotiations as I had hoped. During the holidays, I had the opportunity to review all the recent information regarding Measure B, including the City Attorney’s recent legal opinion regarding amendments to the Development Agreement. It became clear to me that Measure B had to be considered as written without regard to any post-election modifications or negotiations. As a result, the financial concerns are still present and there is no guarantee when, or if, the financial risk to the City will be alleviated. That was a significant factor for me.

Like many Alamedans, I am frustrated with the failure to develop Alameda Point in the 14 years since the base was closed. Alameda Point in its current condition is not sustainable. Asbestos and lead-filled buildings present dangerous fire hazards—such as the FISC Hospital fire, which cost the city $2 Million. Items such as broken water valves cost the city hundreds of thousands in repair costs each year that cannot be passed on to tenants. Although the Navy owns the land, the City is responsible for its maintenance and security. Revenues from leases do not cover the ever-rising costs of maintaining Alameda Point.

I believe it is necessary to have a negotiated Disposition and Development Agreement in order to be assured that the community plan is implemented in a manner that is in the best interests of the city, fiscally and otherwise. Measure B does not afford this assurance. I assure you, this is a decision I have made with great deliberation and thoughtfulness. I also assure you that whether Measure B passes or fails, I will work diligently towards the redevelopment the former base. It is imperative that we move forward to fulfill the community vision for Alameda Point.

Incidentally, the Greenbelt Alliance is supporting a yes vote on B.

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Gilmore: ‘Reluctant’ no on B

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